I use hope to find happiness and keep moving forward

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by Ari Anderson |

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In my last column, I wrote about feeling as though I’m turning a page in my life. I want to foster a belief in spiritual hope and share it with others one-on-one. So how else am I turning the page, and how does it relate to hope?

Let’s look at my nursing team. I’ve never accepted the idea that, along with my home healthcare agency, I’ll always have to look for nurses to fill my staff. Deep inside, I’ve had hope and faith that one day, my nursing team will be complete.

A gradual change in my situation might be foreshadowing such a day. It’s not here yet, but I feel like the hand of providence is slowly turning the page so that I can see a new chapter.

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Rejecting negativity

Sometimes problems can become so embedded in your life that they dictate how you think and feel in negative ways. I’ve been dealing with a nursing shortage for four and a half years. I’d faced sporadic shortages before that, but this time has been the longest.

Some might say that this lengthy search should convince me that I’ll always have to look for two, three, or more nurses to reach the eight to 10 I need to fill my team. A few years ago, I was down to only three!

Still, I’m not convinced that I’ll always be shorthanded. In fact, I wholeheartedly reject that idea. There’s always hope to grab on to, and the kind of hope I use is faith.

Using hope as a foothold, I feel as though I’ve climbed far up the mountain of finding nurses. I recently pointed out to my mom that in the past year, my home healthcare agency has found us four good nurses to add to my team. From my experience, that’s a pretty good track record for an agency. There have been plenty of times when no nurses were added to my team during a particular year.

So the peak of the mountain I’ve been climbing is in sight. My goal is to have eight to 10 nurses by spring.

Keeping my staff happy

Will that be the end of all my staffing problems? Possibly not. Staffing problems aren’t only about finding enough nurses or aides; I also have to make sure they feel appreciated.

Sometimes a nurse can feel singled out, and not in a way they like. They might feel they’re always the one organizing medications and medical supplies, for instance. There’s often an opportunity to divide tasks more evenly among the nursing staff. At other times, a nurse might like to take on more tasks — to lighten the load of their co-workers or to avoid monotony or boredom. Solutions exist.

Fortunately, my nurses are great about sharing the load. This week I plan to ask one of my night nurses if she’d like to learn how to give me a shower. Not only would it give her something new to do, but it might also make things better for me. The day nurse, who works several days a week, gives me a shower, while my other nurses give me bed baths. Showers are usually better than bed baths, so if a night nurse learns to do it, I can have a shower day and night.

Again, it’s important that no single staff member feels as if everything falls on them. If this problem isn’t taken care of, resentment can build, and negative emotions can affect their way of thinking. It’s equally important for patients and their nurses and aides to avoid problems that could make this happen.

Keep your thinking focused on hope. That’s what helps me smile and soar with SMA!

Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.

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